HCWA Celebrates a Historic Election of Officers
The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) celebrated a historic election of officers during its first meeting of 2021.
The HCWA Board of Directors elected Cletonya LaGrand-Stidom as Chair, making her the first woman and African American to Chair the Utility’s Policy Board. In addition, Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom is joined by Sandra Rozier as the first female African American Vice Chair and Siddiqa Gibson as a female African American Secretary/Treasurer, to complete the current HCWA slate of officers.
LaGrand-Stidom has represented District II for the last two years on the Authority Board. Mrs. Rozier and Mrs. Gibson are newly appointed Members of the HCWA Board, representing Districts IV and V, following their appointments by Henry County Commissioners Vivian Thomas and Bruce Holmes, respectively. Rounding out the 2021-22 HCWA Board is Jimmy Carter, representing District III, and Warren Holder, who will continue to represent District I.
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of its founding this year, the HCWA has grown from a small rural water system to one of the largest and most accomplished water and sewer utilities in the state. The current HCWA Board of Directors reflects the growth and diversity Henry County has experienced through the past several decades. This former rural community transformed into one of metro Atlanta’s fastest growing counties. That growth in diversity is now reflected in the Authority’s current leadership on the Board, as the current Chair vows “this will be a major strength moving forward.”
“I’m humbled and honored to be selected to Chair the Board of this outstanding Authority, and I hope we’ll build upon the accomplishments of previous Boards who have provided such outstanding leadership, along with our General Manager Lindy Farmer and his staff,” says Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom. “We have an excellent Board, and our diversity is one of our greatest assets. We have natives and newcomers, women and men, black and white, and we will work together to advance the vital role our water and sewer utility plays in the community.”
The timing of the election of all female, African American HCWA Officers could not have been better, coming a few weeks before the celebration of February’s Black History Month and Women’s History Month in March.
“The significance of our election as Officers of the Water Authority Board is monumental in that it provides an example of what is possible for women and African Americans aspiring for leadership positions in their community,” says Mrs. LaGrand Stidom. “Equally important is the message that our community needs all of us to step forward and serve.”
Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom, who has been a resident of Henry County since 2013, is currently the President of C.K. LaGrand Accounting & Tax Solutions, LLC. She is a highly experienced accountant dedicated to helping clients dramatically increase enterprise value. With over 20 years of experience as an accountant, Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom has a track record of incremental change in the private as well the public sectors. In 2017, she purchased a small book of business and steered it into a 500% increase of value in under four years.
Prior to starting her own company, Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom was the President of J.D. Fletcher & Associates, LLC, a fully integrated accounting firm based in Atlanta and spanning several states. Before her tenure with J.D. Fletcher & Associates, Mrs. LaGrand-Stidom was a Department Analyst with the State of Michigan, where she set guidelines and monitored policy, while focusing primarily on advising companies attempting to do business with the State of Michigan.
HCWA Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier, who has resided in the Eagle’s Landing Community of Henry County for 18 years, was inspired by her daughter to serve on the HCWA Board of Directors. Little did she know three years ago, when she and her husband Randall drove their daughter Mary to Flint, Michigan to hand out bottled water to residents dealing with drinking water contamination, she would end up serving on the HCWA Board as Vice Chair.
“I look forward to diligently supporting practices that provide and protect our precious water resources, and I will drive environmental, innovative, social and economic change to help the HCWA continue to provide quality water and sewer services, and superior customer service, for our more than 60,000 customers,” says Mrs. Rozier, who adds that additional goals include helping the Authority reach the highest possible (AAA) bond rating, while expanding its bidding processes to include more small minority-owned, women- and veteran-owned local businesses.
Professionally, Mrs. Rozier is an entrepreneur and CEO of TeamHOPE, LLC, which provides marketing, business development, project management, community engagement, and consulting services for clients. She also is a Code Ninja Franchisee, one of 484 Code Ninjas located across the United States, Canada, and the UK, who make coding fun for kids.
HCWA Secretary/Treasurer Siddiqa Gibson has been a resident of Henry County for 21 years. While serving on the Authority Board, she hopes to ensure that the citizens of Henry County continue to receive proper water, sewer, and related services at an affordable price.
In addition to advocating for the importance of quality growth in the community, Mrs. Gibson has her eye on young leaders in the community who have the potential to help with sustainability. She is a strong advocate for expanding high school and college internships in all areas of operations at the Authority, while supporting the idea of inclusiveness for minorities, women, and other marginalized groups to have opportunities to do business with the HCWA. She also would like to make citizens more aware of benefits that might be available to them.
Mrs. Gibson is the current Director of Best Life Golden Years, LLC. She also is the Founder and Director of Golden Years on Wheels and More, LLC, specializing in older adult support and advocacy.
Jimmy Carter, who represents District III on the HCWA Board, is the owner and operator of Southern Belle Farm in McDonough with his son Jake and family. He was first appointed to the Authority Board in 2005, and he served as HCWA Chairman the past decade. Mr. Carter is a native and sixth-generation resident of Henry County who has previous public service experience on the Henry County Board of Education for 18 years, prior to being appointed to the HCWA Board by Henry County Commissioner Gary Barham.
In addition to opening and operating Southern Belle as a working farm, Mr. Carter’s family farm has an educational component that includes hosting tours and events for guests who come from all over the country. Mr. Carter began working in his family’s dairy business following his graduation from the University of Georgia, and he also has past experience as a salesman for agribusinesses and as the Executive Director of the Georgia Milk Producers, Inc.
Finally, Warren Holder represents District I on the HCWA Board of Directors, following his appointment by Henry County Commissioner Johnny Wilson. He is the owner of Warren Holder Equipment, LLC in Locust Grove, where he assists customers with their lawn maintenance, landscaping and home improvement needs.
Mr. Holder is a former Henry County Commissioner and former Member of the Henry County Board of Education, and he served 18 years on the Locust Grove City Council prior to that. He has additional experience in leadership for public utilities, as he has served on the Board of Directors of Central Georgia EMC for the past 21 years.
Please visit the photo galleries from the swearing in ceremonies on the Photo Galleries page of the About Us tab on this website at www.hcwa.com.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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Captions for photos, from top to bottom:
Pics 1 and 2
(L to R) A historic election of African American female officers of the HCWA Board of Directors for 2021-22 include: Siddiqa Gibson as Secretary, Cletonya LaGrand-Stidom as Chair, and Sandra Rozier as Vice Chair.
The 2021 HCWA Board of Directors include (front, left to right): Cletonya LaGrand-Stidom, Chair and District 2 Member; Sandra Rozier, Vice Chair and District 4 Member; (back row, left to right): Jimmy Carter, District 3 Member; Siddiqa Gibson, Secretary/Treasurer and District 5 Member; and Warren Holder, District 1 Member.
HCWA Chair Cletonya LaGrand-Stidom is sworn into office by the Hon. Holly Veal, Judge, Henry County Superior Court.
Henry County District IV Commissioner Vivian Thomas (right), a special guest during the swearing in of HCWA Officers, with her new appointee to the HCWA Board of Directors, Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier.
HCWA Vice-Chair Sandra Rozier (center) with her husband Randall and daughter Mary.
Special guests on hand for the swearing in ceremonies of the 2021-22 HCWA Board of Directors included (left to right): Hon. Holly Veal, Judge, Henry County Superior Court, and Pastor T.J. McBride, Tabernacle of Praise Church International, with District V newly appointed HCWA Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer Siddiqa Gibson, and her son Donell, Jr.